Johnny Weir Defends NBC Gig in Russia: ‘If it’s Good Enough for Elton John, It’s Good Enough for Me’

Retired Olympic figure skater-turned-NBC correspondent Johnny Weir defended his trip to Russia and his love of the country in an interview with the NYT this week, telling the paper that  his husband, Victor Voronov, a first-generation Russian-American, wants him to speak out and “be more on the side of the gay team.”

WeirWeir doesn't see eye-to-eye with his husband.

Said Weir to the paper:

"I risk jail time just going there, but the Olympics are not the place to make a political statement. I’m not a politician and I don’t really talk about politics. You don’t have to agree with the politics, but you have to respect the culture of a country you are visiting."

“It’s pretty obvious that I’ve been gay my whole life. I don’t need to break any laws or wear a rainbow pin to show people that I support gay rights. I think I’ll do that just by being in Sochi and supporting our people there and know they are not alone."

"The gay community has not reacted well to me because some people think it’s my responsibility to be an activist. They’re expecting me to hate Russia because I haven’t been given equal rights in Russia.”

"If it’s good enough for Elton John, it’s good enough for me. Every country’s going to have its issues."


  1. Clam says

    He has no problem with gay people being murdered and discriminated against in Russia, a place where a sizeable minority want homosexuals to be liquidated.

  2. Jerry says

    NO one has asked Weir to express a hatred of Russia. As a gay adult who is gay-married, he has a duty to at least voice his disapproval of Russian law, and its devastating effects on Russian LGBTs., and he’s in an exceptional position to do so.

  3. Perry says

    Much like Thomas Roberts, it is all about money and publicity. Who cares what this attention seeking idiot thinks.

  4. says

    Oh sweetie, you’re no Elton John.

    It’s irresponsible for NBC or anyone else involved in the Olympics to send openly gay employees to Russia.

    “the Olympics are not the place to make a political statement.”

    First of all, why not? What’s so sacred about the Olympics? Second, a political statement is “I think taxes are too high.” We’re talking about people like himself being essentially outlawed and at risk of violence with little or no protection from the government. Saying that sucks is not political, it’s humanitarian.

  5. dommylu says

    A second-rate Olympic athlete who always worried about being in the news instead of improving his supposed talent.
    As Eric Cartman might say, “Suck my balls, Johnny.”
    But let me get them nice and vinegary first

  6. says

    Remember he is also an advocate of the fur industry. What can we expect from such a selfish idiot!?! I gave up on this guy long ago.

  7. tranquilo says

    “If it’s good enough for Elton John, it’s good enough for me.”

    Looking forward to his performances at Rush Limbaugh’s next big life event.

  8. MrRoboto says

    Well, looks like NBC is doing everything possible to make it’s Olympics, which I was already becoming inclined to ignore, even more of something to tune out of.

  9. Homo Genius says

    Should he also rip apart other countries participating? Take a stand against the Jamaican Bobsled team? Trash a skier from Uganda? Be mean to skaters from Suadi Arabia?

    If he is supposed to be an activist why not be an activist here in the US where our rights aren’t equal from place to place.

  10. vmarq says

    This isn’t a “political” issue, Weir. It’s a humanitarian issue, and you’re calling on an equally cowardly queen to justify turning a blind eye to our agonizing brothers and sisters.

    Now, if your plan is to act complacent now and then do a bait-and-switch pro-gay rights demonstration once you’re in, then that would be genius. One can dream…

  11. mark says

    “respect the culture of the country you are visiting” …seriously? Your “respecting” Russian culture in this case is also supporting and condoning what they are doing to LGBT citizens at this time.
    Why don’t you take your “respect” parade to Jamaica, Uganda and any number of other countries instead..oh wait, there are no $$ involved. Johnny, when you are thrown in jail in Sochi, I hope you do not expect anyone to make a “political” statement to try and get you out…

  12. John K. says

    I dislike him immensely. I wish he would STFU. Nobody cares. It would be newsworthy that you would stand up for gay people (you are hardly “risking arrest” by just being there, you attention whore), but your not doing so makes you even more irrelevant than you already were.

  13. Cd in Dc says

    his whole theory that he doesn’t have rights in NJ so therefore why should he expect rights in Russia? Well, NJ has gay marriage and Russia has legalized gay bashing and NJ hasn’t at least not yet. I’m particularly galled that he would wear the Russian garb that irked the USOC after their officially sanctional hate campaign. I have to conclude he wants attention so the difference between he and Ted Cruz, Johnny has a better butt, at least for now.

  14. Mighty says

    This is another reason Elton John should not have agreed to go. Its providing cover to Putin. He must be very happy.

  15. yeahIknow says

    Why on earth would he ever wear a Russian military uniform anyway? Doesn’t he understand that most members of the Russian military would have no problem murdering him and dumping his body in a forest?
    You don’t have to respect any culture that dehumanizes people from the highest political offices to the lowliest altars. Russia is a deeply troubled nation aside from their gross antigay laws.
    He deserves ALL the criticism he is receiving. In this day and age, for an out gay man who has media presence to brown nose a antigay murderous regime is beyond.

  16. oncemorewithfeeling says

    It’s not like he could get any more trivial or pointless if he tried. But as long as NBC wants a gay minstrel show, he’ll have a job. Until he proves he’s a relative failure at that, too, anyway.

  17. Brian1 says

    There’s something really damaged about this guy. First no self respecting gay person would feel anything but disgust for Russia. Second he’s married to a Russian who is telling him he’s completely wrong on this issue. Third, I’m sure when NBC hired him it was part of their effort to unburn some bridges with the gay community, by going there to cast a critical eye on Russia. So with all that pushing strongly in one direction, he dons a Russian army uniform and becomes a spokeswhore for Putin.

  18. rorbroy says

    Oh dear gawd- could the man be any more of a gay minstrel show???

    And ice when is Elton on a role model for acceptable behavior?

  19. jomicur says

    “the Olympics are not the place to make a political statement.” Johnny, darling, thanks to the Russian government, these Olympics are already politicized. They will use them as a cover to claim that the world is giving them a stamp of approval for their hateful laws. And YOU among others are giving them that stamp. I sincerely hope you are shunned and shamed by every gay person and every right-thinking straight person for the rest of your pathetic, sniveling life.

  20. Craig says

    I guess I have a different take on this. Russia doesn’t want our types there, especially the famous ones who are actually drawing more attention to the problem in Russia. I say send as many openly gay people we can and let them broadcast to the world the abuses that are occurring there. If Russia arrest one if them for speaking the truth, awesome! Much more publicity!

  21. C.J. says

    Yes, he hates politics but loves wearing that Russian military suit. This guy is turning himself into a bigger and bigger joke everytime he shows his face on TV. I have to agree with Brian, there is something really damaged about him.

  22. Jerry says

    All other things aside, this child needs a publicist to tell him when to SHUT IT. It would save him a lot of backlash.

  23. Leroy Laflamme says

    Wait a minnit! He risks jail every time, just going there? He risks jail every time, just going there?!

  24. bobbyjoe says

    Who exactly is interested in Johnny Weir anymore? It’s not like he ever had much mainstream appeal, he’s retired from skating, and he’s alienated 98% of the one demographic (gays) who might give even half-a-hoot about anything the guy does. The question isn’t “why is NBC sending Johnny Weir to Russia,” it’s “why is anyone sending Johnny Weir anywhere anymore?” Who exactly is his remaining audience?

  25. Eric says

    Huh. If I were being attacked for being LGBT, I would rather actually be alone than have another LGBT being paid to stand there, and doing nothing except describing the sporting event being held next door. No, Johnny, you’re not going to support them and let them know they’re not alone.

  26. Paulie says

    It’s not about politics, it’s about human rights, you dingbat! I think NBC hired him solely to deflect criticism of their coverage.

  27. Eric says

    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

    –Desmond Tutu

  28. Randy says

    I was boycotting the Olympics because of Russia.

    Now I’m boycotting at because of Weir on NBC.

    I just can’t take the stupid, selfish loser.

  29. walter says

    we already knew elton was a quisling remember he sang at rush’s wedding for a million bucks. wonder where little johnny will run when the russian goon squads go after him . sorry elton johnny and thomas all are sellouts for the all mighty buck. nbc really tried to soften the coverage of the games by hiring a bunch of gays to prove they’re not homophobic sorry not buying into it

  30. EJC says

    Being a skater with limited talent does not give you the right to comment on the sport with any authority, Possible NBC thinks this will calm the water regarding the gay issue, that will never happen.
    Hopefully he will dump the Russian uniform although if the skating costumes he has worn in the past . . . . . taste isn’t high on his list!

  31. DannyEastVillage says

    if Elton John can get paid a lot to go to that s**t-hole,why shouldn’t I? After all, it’s my native s**t-hole. And I’ll do anything to be like Elton John.

    Or something.